Memorial at Estancia celebrates life of Jim Scott

COSTA MESA — About 150 people poured into Estancia High School's gym to celebrate the life of Jim Scott, an avid school booster who pioneered the building of the school's football stadium that today bears his name.

The memorial coincided with the Battle of the Bell, a ritual he created in the mid-1980s to foster community traditions and a friendly competition between Estancia and its cross-town rival, Costa Mesa High, said son Jim Scott Jr.

The ceremony began and ended with a bagpipe, whose player wore a red kilt and Scott Clan shirt. Although not a direct relative, the bagpiper said the songs were a nod to Scott's heritage.

The pledge of allegiance was also said, with many shouting "in Jim Scott tradition."

The mood of the memorial, however, was anything but somber, with three of Scott's children singing "Deep in the Heart of Texas" (accompanied by the clapping of the audience) and a slideshow illustrating Scott's move from Texas to California. The show also portrayed Scott's career making Seco Seals and traveling the world with his family.

"We traveled all over the world peddling those seals," Joan Scott said of her travels with her husband.

Among the photos shown was an aged black-and-white picture capturing a moment outside his Costa Mesa home where Scott cemented his handprints alongside his family.

Scott Jr. said his father was "the world's greatest dad" who "had the heart of a lion."

Even after Scott's children were no longer enrolled at Estancia, Scott remained an avid booster. He traveled north to acquire a San Francisco trolley bell to use in the annual high school battle, where he also treated the winners to dinner at the Newport Rib Co.

Friday evening was also bookended with ribs: a rib dinner outside the stadium with a big band-style performance before the game, and the customary rib dinner for the winning team afterward.

For those who shared their memories Friday night, Scott was remembered for his firm handshake and the value he placed on family and respect.

Scott, 85, died in May of heart failure.

Joan Scott remembered her husband's tenacity and devotion among the many qualities that characterized the local legend.

"He never gave up," she said. "If he thought of something, it came to life."

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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